Something Wicked Strikes Day #28! We are near the end of all things Wicked, but before we finish, I have a few more terrific reads to share with you. Today's book is just ahead, but I have a couple of notes first: Tell Me Something Tuesday will return next week, it was preempted this week to get in one more Wicked post. Second, you need to visit these stops today:
Maja @The Nocturnal Library: Demon Squad by Tim Marquitz
Now onto today's post.... I am excited to be featuring the first book in a new series from debut author, Martina Boone. Martina's series: The Heirs of Watson Island is steeped in history, filled with suspense and a creepy atmosphere, not to mention a bit of magic and a few spirits. Compulsion introduces you to some fascinating characters as it scratches the surface on the many secrets of the founding families of Watson Island. If you love Southern Gothic novels, this is a series you need to check out. Before I go further, let me take a minute and introduce you all to Martina:
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.
She’s the founder of
Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and
YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all this YA Series. From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.
Find Martina online:
Here is Martina:
Ghosts are not universal across cultures, nor is magic. That concept of “difference” is one of the things that I played with in COMPULSION, because the low country area near Charleston, SC has a wonderful blend of diverse cultures with rich magical traditions and beliefs.
Native Americans lived there long before the white settlers came. In addition to the local tribes, a Cherokee trading route cut through the area. Then colonists arrived, and pirates, and soldiers, and slaves from many nations. All of that blended together into a rich magical brew.
My original working title for COMPULSION was “The Fire Carrier,” because the image of the flaming sphere bobbing through the woods at night was my visual inspiration for the story. I went hunting for something in mythology or legend that would explain the image, and I ultimately discovered that the Cherokee believed in a witch called the Fire Carrier who appeared carrying a flaming sphere. The Cherokee feared this witch so much that there is very little speculation about his power or origins. They simply suggest people stay away.
One of the things I enjoy doing most in fiction is flipping things on their ears. I began to wonder why, if there was virtually no suggestion of evil deeds by the Fire Carrier, everyone assumed he was automatically evil? What made him worse, for example, than a Raven Mocker, another type of Cherokee witch who eats the living heart out of a person and thereby gains all the remaining years of that person’s life for themselves? I think I’d be more afraid of the second kind of witch than the first, but maybe that’s just me.
Speculating about how the Fire Carrier came to have such bad PR, I created a whole story about him and about several of the different Cherokee spirits called the yunwi tsundi, the little people. The story went back hundreds of years, so I had to create a whole history for the haunted island where it took place, and take into consideration the many different kinds of people who lived on the island and nearby. I introduced various kinds of magic, according to what was practiced by the people involved.
Then I shook it all together to see what fell out.
I can’t give away too much, because there’s a LOT to be discovered in PERSUASION and in book three of the series. Let’s just say that there are twists, and what you think you know when you finish COMPULSION isn’t necessarily true.
Increasingly, the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy centers around spirits and magic, because so much magic is facilitated by spirits or ancestors and fueled by strong passions. Which, really, are the engine behind every interesting story.
I was delighted when I found out that COMPULSION would come out near Halloween, because just as there are the “between” times in the year when the veils separating reality and spirit are thinner, I believe there are places that have that same capacity.
Watson Island is one of those places. Maybe that’s why there is magic there, and maybe, that’s why there are so many different kinds of ghosts.
Be warned though. Make no assumptions, about good and evil when you read this book. The spirits, and the people, may surprise you. : )
Thanks to Martina for stopping by today. I know she is crazy busy with the release of Compulsion, which is out today! You can get your copy:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Best of luck with your debut, Martina! I hope to see you back here next year with book two. Martina is generously offering a chance to win a copy Compulsion. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. To enter please fill out the Rafflecopter after reading the Contest Policies . Good Luck!
Here is my review:
Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island #1) by Martina Boone
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut- in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published: October 28th 2014 by Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Four stars: A rich, fascinating trip down South to an island with a long standing history, curses, spirits and secrets.
Barrie nervously checks her phone again. She has been waiting at the airport for three hours, but her long, lost Aunt Pru still hasn't arrived. Barrie's whole world feel apart last week when her godfather announced he was dying of cancer, and her mother dropped dead of a heart attack. Now Barrie is leaving everything and everyone she has ever loved and headed to the mysterious Watson Island, her mother's home, to live with her Aunt Pru, a woman she didn't know existed until her mother died. Once Barrie arrives on the island, she instantly feels like she is where she is supposed to be. The only problem is that the island is full of secrets and she quickly learns that there are curses, spirits, and a troubled history on the island. Will Barrie find her place on Watson Island?
What I Liked:
I am always a fan of Gothic Southern novels, and Compulsion delivers with its suspenseful Southern atmosphere. This is a book that revolves around three families who are descended from the island's original settlers. The Watsons and the Beauforts are the beneficiaries of mysterious gifts, while the Colesworths are cursed. I loved uncovering the history of the families and untangling the secrets and learning more about the spirits, gifts and curses. This is a book that sucks you in from the get go and doesn't let you loose until the end.
This is a strong character driven story. Barrie, the protagonist is a girl who was uprooted from her home and sent to live with an aunt she has never met. Even though Barrie is broken hearted and far from home, she doesn't let that get her down. She immediately settles into life on the island and endeavors to make friends. I admired her courage and spirit, and I liked that she wanted to reach out and make friends with her cousin despite the long standing feud between the families. Barrie is adventurous and kind, and easy to like, and her gift is fascinating. The secondary characters are well fleshed out and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the characters.
The romance is expertly done. There aren't any insta love situations, love triangles or even unnecessary drama. It is simple, straightforward, slow moving and realistic. Once Barrie arrives on the island, she is introduced to Eight, the son of her aunt's lawyer. Eight agrees to show Barrie around the island, and the end up becoming friends. Over time their relationship develops into something more. I loved the slow burn romance, and I liked that the couple grew together as they worked through their stumbling blocks. The romance is the highlight of the novel, and it is one of the better YA romances I have read in a long time. So nice that this romance avoids the worn out YA cliches.
I enjoyed the suspense and mystery of the story. There are several storylines and lots going on in this book. This was a book that I wanted to keep reading as I liked uncovering all the secrets. Once you start this, you won't want to put it down.
I loved the inclusion of the mysterious Fire Carrier who sets the river a blaze every night at midnight. I am anxious to know so much more about this spirit as well as all the yunwi, mysterious shadows said to be souls who weren't buried properly. I liked the ghostly aspect of the story.
The writing is lovely and insightful. Ms. Boone is indeed talented, and I am anxious to see what she does in the future. With this debut, she proves that she is a writer to watch.
- The ending is swift, thrilling and satisfying. It ties off many of the conflicts, but there were a few dangling questions that left me itching to know more. Still, I was pleased that I got a solid ending that refrained from a cliffhanger.
And The Not So Much:
I got a bit lost with all the history and characters. There were several characters from the past thrown in, and it was confusing to keep them all straight. Not a big issue, but this is a book you need to focus on while reading or you will be lost.
The ending was fast and furious, and I felt like too much information was thrown at me all at once, and I still wasn't clear on all the reasons why Lulu, Barrie's mother ended up fleeing the island. Was it because she discovered her father's secret or was it because she learned the truth about Wyatt? I wasn't satisfied with the explanation provided regarding Lulu. I still am not clear on Wyatt's motives and the fire. I need to more on this angle of the story.
Lulu is a big mystery throughout the story. I kept expecting to learn more about Barrie's life with her mother, but there isn't much. What went on between Lulu and Barrie's father? I wanted so much more detail on Lulu. I am hoping that there will be more on her in book two.
Mark, Barrie's drag queen godfather, was one of my favorite characters even though his role was small. I loved his attitude and kind heart. I wished that there was more on him in the book. I especially wanted to know how Mark met Lulu and why he ended up taking care of her and Barrie all those years. I felt like I was missing a big piece of the puzzle.
- I was left with many nagging questions such as all the missing information on Lulu, Wyatt's motives, what happened to Cassie, why are the spirits and Fire Carrier trapped on the island and so forth. I am hoping for more answers in the next book.
Compulsion is a deeply engaging, suspenseful, gothic read set in the deep South. I loved the intrigue and the atmosphere as well as the characters. This is an entertaining and solid beginning to a new series that I am eager to continue. If you love rich, Southern Gothic novels, give Compulsion a read.
"Sometimes, though, we let ourselves get so used to being 'fine' that we lose track of how not fine we are."
"If you don't leave any achievements behind, did you really live? And does it count if you create something beautiful but no one know it's yours?"
"It doesn't matter how great your shoes are if you don't accomplish anything them."
"Things, and people, were always more beautiful when you were afraid to lose them."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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